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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Take them On, On Your Own

Posted by December 15th, 2003 No Comments »

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Take them On, On Your Own
Virgin Records
By Graham Isaac

So you’re at a party. You know most of the people there, and are having a pretty good time, but then a newcomer catches your eye. He/she is dressed just a tad snazzier than anyone else; likes all your favorite records and is damn hot. Most surprisingly, they like you, give you their number, and with a flip of their collar strut out the door.

You call them up a few days later and catch lunch at an out-of-the-way little joint that oozes indie atmosphere. Your new friend is still hot as hell, but a little of the charisma is lost. Probably just the lack of alcohol or the fact that its now daytime. Over the next three weeks you have a brief but passionate affair, but you soon discover that all their vintage-looking threads were ordered from catalogues, their record collection is cool but contains no unique deviations from the standard hipster fare, and they got their cool from a book entitled “how to strut.”

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Take them On, On Your Own
Virgin Records
By Graham Isaac

So you’re at a party. You know most of the people there, and are having a pretty good time, but then a newcomer catches your eye. He/she is dressed just a tad snazzier than anyone else; likes all your favorite records and is damn hot. Most surprisingly, they like you, give you their number, and with a flip of their collar strut out the door.

You call them up a few days later and catch lunch at an out-of-the-way little joint that oozes indie atmosphere. Your new friend is still hot as hell, but a little of the charisma is lost. Probably just the lack of alcohol or the fact that its now daytime. Over the next three weeks you have a brief but passionate affair, but you soon discover that all their vintage-looking threads were ordered from catalogues, their record collection is cool but contains no unique deviations from the standard hipster fare, and they got their cool from a book entitled “how to strut.”

This friend is a lot like the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club record.

On first listen I was taken in by their fuzzy bass tones, rolling hooks and seemingly never-ending supply of swagger. Sure, it was better the first time around, when it was called Automatic by the Jesus and Mary Chain, but who cares when it sounds so good?

The problem is, an affair can only be torrid for so long before you yearn for some deep conversations, some additional substance, or even a little post-coital cuddling. BRMC give you none of this, they’d prefer to let songs like “We’re All in Love” hit you hard with their hooks but leave no lasting marks.

The first single, “Stop,” is perhaps a better example of this analogy. Pseudo-indie, pseudo-rawking, sneering and scowling, its rock disposability at it’s best. Where BMRC’s first album attempted more variety and ended up with a few good rockers and a lot of different takes on the same boring idea, its successor has a consistency of tone – one that dictates that while you may not remember many of these songs after taking the disc out of the player, you won’t want to stop them while they’re going. Take them On, On Your Own succeeds in that respect.

Returning to the metaphor of an affair, BRMC are not going to traumatize you or leave you with feelings of disappointment, sadness or betrayal. You may even have some fond memories of blasting “U.S. Government” while you pick out which ironic T-shirt goes best with your denim jacket and hoodie. But ultimately, you will leave them for a band of more substance. A band that sticks around the morning after and has something interesting to say at the breakfast table – (6/10)


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